Autumn Anxiety- Yeah, it's a real thing.
I can't believe we're in October already. It seems like just yesterday we were talking about the first day of school. Well, you won't hear me complaining- fall is definitely my favorite time of year. I love everything about it, from the chill in the air to all the Octoberfest celebrations. To me, nothing beats autumn in Wisconsin, but I know, as a licensed professional counselor, it's not all russet leaves and pumpkins for everyone. Yes, the change in seasons from summer to fall can produce a very annoying side effect for some people and it's not allergies. It's called autumn anxiety. Although autumn anxiety isn't a commonly discussed issue, it is fairly common- affecting an estimated 10 million people around the nation. It’s different from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in that autumn anxiety is really just anxiety and is characterized by the increased feeling of anxiousness during the autumn months. While there's no one known cause for autumn anxiety individuals who do suffer from SAD are at a higher risk for it.
Listen, I know all about the 3 am yips- that incredibly difficult, hard to breathe, racing thoughts blast of anxiety that can snap you awake from even the deepest of sleeps. That is not what autumn anxiety is. Whether you’re worried about the beginning of a new virtual school year, the looming stress from approaching holidays, or regret from not reaching your summer goals, a slight rise of anxiety in the fall is normal for a lot of people. Anxiety that interferes with your daily life is not normal and shouldn't be dismissed or ignored.
If you've been noticing that you're a bit more anxious than normal, keep an eye on it. Autumn anxiety isn't hard to treat, but it can get out of control if you don't keep it in check. Look into light therapy, breathing techniques, or meditation to reduce your anxiety, and be sure focus on a healthy diet, exercise, and good quality sleep. Taking control of your anxiety now may save you from having to talk to me later.
Until next time, happy autumn, and take care friends.